NTSPP – 329 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 329

NTSPP – 329

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Gazza gives us another treat of a crossword with a pangram to boot.


1 Key worker‘s good in extremely touchy-feely way (6)
TYPIST – A two letter word meaning extremely good or holy inside the outer (extremely) letters of touchy-feely and the abbreviation for street (way).

4 Wrongful admission by an officer at the fête? (1,4,3)
A FAIR COP – Another way of saying a policemen at a fete.

9 Make a drama from Australian opener’s caught and bowled? (3,3)
ACT OUT – The first letter (opener) of Australian followed by the abbreviation for caught and what the batsman would be if bowled.

10 Sacred work, alternatively a notorious lack of all-round common sense … (8)
ORATORIO – A two letter word meaning alternatively followed by the A from the clue and the letters remaining in the word notorious if you remove the outer (lack of all-round) that make up a word meaning common sense.

12 … deploying extra dogs behind net (5-3)
AFTER TAX – An anagram (deploying) of EXTRA follows (dogs) a three letter word meaning behind.

13 Like Caesar I came to Carthage (uninhabited city) (6)
VENICE – The Latin (like Caesar) for I came (in Caesar’s words followed by vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered) followed by the outer letters (uninhabited) of Carthage.

15 You, old? I’m surprised, ok! (4)
YEAH – An old English word for you followed by a two letter word meaning I’m surprised.

16 Suffer a bad stroke? Take a taxi across river … (5,1,4)
CATCH A CRAB – A phrase (5,1,3) meaning to take a taxi around (across) the abbreviation for river.

19 … where Meals on Wheels service is available (6,4)
DINING CARS – A cryptic definition of where you might eat on trains.

20 Bargain that constrains man’s growing family (4)
SNIP – Double definition, the second being a cryptic reference to a vasectomy.

23 Old king loves entertaining tots periodically in place of Santa (6)
GROTTO – The abbreviation for King George (old king) followed by two Os (loves – in the plural so two) into which you add (entertaining) the odd letters (periodically) of tots.

25 Cut and run, nicking unbundled leftovers (8)
ESCALOPE – Another word meaning run or flee includes (nicking) the abbreviations for left and overs.  The unbundled is an indicator that leftovers has to be split before being resolved into its abbreviated forms.

27 In military style I provide crew for old trading vessel (8)
INDIAMAN – The word use for I in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed by a word meaning to crew.

28 Zanzibar getting shelled and bombed makes Japanese cry (6)
BANZAI – An anagram (bombed) of the inner letters (shelled) of zANZIBAr.

29 Sweetheart’s constant, trapped by honour in former dependency (4,4)
HONG KONG – A three letter word (short for honey) meaning sweetheart and a four letter word for a medal or honour includes a single letter for Boltzmann’s constant.

30 Lord’s officials may interpret this restricted ruling (3-3)
BYE LAW – A double definition, the first referring to a cricketing rule.


1 Charwoman Rosie could be off her trolley (7)
TEALADY – a thinly disguised cryptic definition.

2 Paddy’s aching to scoff Italian roll (5,4)
PETIT PAIN – A three letter word for a paddy or temper tantrum followed by a word meaning aching includes the abbreviation for Italian.

3 Little chap given money for treat’s beginning to fidget (6)
SQUIRM – A derogatory term for a little person has the final T (treat’s beginning) replaced by the abbreviation for money.

5 Bisexual’s range of interests in fashion (4)
FORM – Split 1,2,1 this would indicate the sexual preferences of someone who is bisexual.

6 Laboured breathing’s not right – that’s a certainty (2,3,3)
IN THE BAG – An anagram (laboured) of BREATHING without the R (not right).

7 Palace favourite gets stuck into cognac or gin (5)
CORGI – The answer is hidden (stuck into) COGNAC OR GIN.

8 Saw spin doctor going over part of speech (7)
PROVERB – The abbreviation for public relations officer (spin doctor) followed by a part of speech indication action.

11 Pack a gallery in WI place (7)
JAMAICA – A three letter word meaning pack or cram followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (gallery).

14 Performer is apparently to ‘rest’ more, needing change of direction (7)
ACTRESS – If this perform is to rest more they must perform on fewer occasions) (3,4).  From this phrase, change the L to an R (needing change of direction).

17 Drummer starts to use zither, enchanting lovesick bird (4,5)
RING OUZEL – The name of the drummer in the Beatles followed by the initial letters (starts to) of Use Zither Enchanting Lovesick.

18 Actor Ken’s awfully lousy at multi-tasking (3-5)
ONE TRACK – An anagram (awfully) of ACTOR KEN.

19 What an idiot to wrap fresh figs in seafood! (7)
DOGFISH – A three letter word meaning what an idiot (think Homer Simpson) around (to wrap) an anagram (fresh) of FIGS.

21 Early opportunity to check out positive vetting (7)
PREVIEW – The abbreviation for positive followed by a word meaning vetting.

22 Father’s custody case absorbs Press Association office in Rome (6)
PAPACY – A two letter word meaning father and the outer letters (case) of custody includes (absorbs) the abbreviation for Press Association.

24 Former Eastender’s no spring chicken (5)
OLDEN – How a Cockney (Eastender) might say old hen (no spring chicken).

26 Heads off by car in what’s a long story (4)
YARN – Remove the first letters (heads off) from by car in.

43 comments on “NTSPP – 329

  1. Gosh I was pleased when Jane emailed to say it was Gazza’s NTSPP!

    Found bits of this quite tricky but as I said yesterday I like tricky.

    There were a few things that I had not heard of before that I had to look up inc 16a and 27a and the bird was only vaguely familiar.

    So many likes…4a, 19d (fantastic surface that made me smile), 7d (took me a bit to spot!) and 15a..brilliant clue.

    Favourite by a long way is the wonderful 5d.

    Many thanks to to Gazza for a great puzzle and thanks in advance to whoever blogs this.

    Still not sure I have parsed 29a right?

    1. For 29a – A three letter word (short for honey) meaning sweetheart and a four letter word for a medal or honour includes a single letter for Boltzmann’s constant.

      1. Boltzmann’s constant…Ye Gods! Thanks a lot Prolixic. Not a chance I would have got that!

      2. Thanks from me too – it had to be right but why it had to be right would probably have ruined the rest of my day.

  2. A very enjoyable challenge as one would expect, I only cheated on one (11d) which I should really have got once it became clear that it was a pangram!

    I found the right-hand side considerably more straightforward than the left, and I ticked five clues in particular- 4a, 10a, 16a, 7d, and my overall favourite 20a. There are a couple where I’m still unsure of the parsing, but that number has now been reduced by one thanks to Prolixic’s help to Hanni. Boltzmann’s constant? Why, of course!

    Great stuff, Gazza, thank you for a superb puzzle.

  3. Superb NTSPP, Gazza, many thanks.
    Really good mix of ‘easy’ ones, ‘give it some thought’ ones and the odd ‘what!’ thrown in for good measure.
    Unlike Hanni, I had no problem with the bird but I did have to look up 28a, which she probably already knew!

    Plenty of ‘ticks’ but my podium places go to the humorous ones – 1&4a plus 3&5d.

    Oh yes – thanks also to Prolixic for the explanation of 29a. I reckon that just about every letter of the alphabet can be used to represent either a ‘constant’ or an ‘unknown’!

    1. I did know 28a Jane…and not for the most erudite of reasons when I first heard of it. I shall wait for the review to show you how! :yes:

  4. Brilliant NTSPP – Gazza’s always are.
    I didn’t spot the pangram – never do.
    I didn’t understand my 29a but thanks to Prolixic that’s now sorted – so used to Ray T’s sweetheart meaning E.
    Don’t understand my 13a either – maybe it’s wrong.
    Lots to laugh at which is what makes a crossword for me – 1, 12, 16 and 23a and 1, 3, 7 and 19d.
    My short list for favourite includes 15 and 20a and 5 and 17d – and before anyone quibbles I don’t have four favourites – I just haven’t made up my mind yet!
    With thanks and a big :yahoo: to Gazza and thanks in advance to whoever does the review.

    1. Thanks – oh – in that case I’m not just barking up the wrong tree but in the wrong forest completely – thought the last three letters were the I from the clue and the first and last of C(arthag)E (uninhabited). Ho hum and back to the drawing board, when I’ve finished cutting the grass.

      1. Sorry, Kath – thought you’d get it from that. Your last two letters are right – in front of them you need a Latin word that is the first in a three word phrase attributed to Caesar.

        1. Yes – and thank you and I should have got it from that. All would be so much better if my Latin was up to scratch . . . :oops:

  5. Very enjoyable NTSPP – many thanks Gazza. There are some corkers here with really smartly disguised defs and WP that had me ticking away mentally (as I was doing it online).

    Favourites: 1A for the def, 12A great WP and def, 13A (prob the best for me), 20A, 23A & 5D for the PDM, 22D for the smoothness. A few I couldn’t parse so I’m looking forward to the review.

    1. Well – really sorry to be a pain in the proverbial but I need a bit of translation from crosswordese into plain English – PDM I think I’ve worked out – Penny Drop Moment? WP is still causing me a certain amount of angst.
      I do think that BD’s site is mercifully free of jargon – it is generally discouraged – and that is what makes it so helpful to new solvers. Long may that attitude continue.

      1. I reckoned that WP was word play, but didn’t get the PDM. Thanks for that, Kath!

      2. Forgive me – I’m institutionalised from the DIY Cow site where these acronyms are routine, but as a loather of jargon in most settings I plead guilty and won’t do it again.

  6. I was not happy to see that it was a Gazza NTSPP. This is because I wasn’t intending to do another puzzle today – but obviously I had to!

    Top quality and lots of fun, as expected.

    I found the right hand side fairly gentle, but sat staring at the rest for a while before they started to go in. Not sure now what my block was with the left. NW and the downs in the middle were last to fall.

    In 16a, I was toying at first with the bad stroke being a grope. No.

    I like clues which require both wordplay and definition to solve. 17a provides a perfect example: I used the wordplay for the last four letters, then the definition to complete the second word, but then needed the drummer to help me finish off the bird.

    It was nice to see a sweetheart that isn’t e (in 29a). Having done a little physics in my time, the constant was no problem.

    A couple remain half-parsed but they will now have to wait until later.

    I can’t pick out favourites from such a good bunch, but will say that 20a and 5d caused much amusement.

    Thanks again to Gazza – great stuff. :good:

  7. We noted last night before we went to bed that it was going to be a Gazza puzzle so had something to look forward to when we awoke this morning. Our planned morning activities have been delayed a little but in the best possible way. Plenty to keep us challenged and amused form start to finish. Definitions masterfully disguised and clever wordplay. What more could we ask for.
    Many thanks Gazza.

  8. What a fool I am! I was stuck on 12A and 11D and knew I had to look for a certain letter to complete the pangram, totally overlooking the fact that I was missing another one also! The first thought that springs to mind for me when I see WI is an American State. The second is that women’s organization. The one it actually was is not even on my radar. Done now, though, with a bit of e-help though i don’t understand the ‘gallery’ part of 11D. I don’t understand all of 25A either.

    I was another very excited to see the name of today’s setter and, my difficulties notwithstanding, I wasn’t disappointed. I am plumping for 24D as my favorite with 27A as runner-up among a hotly contested field. Thank you Gazza!

    1. We had to check Google for the gallery too Chris. We are so used to it being TATE. In 25a look at the last word of the clue being two words and then their abbreviations.

  9. Well Gazza, you didn’t exactly make it easy for me.
    Specially the SE corner as I spent a long while on 20a and 21d which I parsed only after reading the preamble.
    30a was a bung in. Sorry.
    Loved the construction in 10a (sacred work) and 28a (Zanzibar).
    Liked the leftovers in 25a.
    Used to go to the gallery in 11d.
    The boat in 27a was new to me.
    Thanks to Gazza for the great fun and to Prolixic in advance for the review although it might appear when I press send.

    1. And it did.
      When I first got 11d, I was sure there was a Jamaica Place in W1. :scratch:
      Forgot to say that my first thought on 3d was Smurf but it didn’t fit.
      Thanks to Prolixic for the review.

      1. We trailed along behind Papa Smurf too. Even looked to see if they sometimes had 2 Fs. :smile:

  10. Brilliant review, Prolixic, well deserved by such a great NTSPP!

    Just about got there with the parsing (thanks to your heads up on Boltzmann!) with the exception of 27a where I obviously tried to be far too clever. I lifted ‘AN’ from the clue then put DA (Dept. of the Army) around the ‘I’ from the clue, followed by ‘MAN’ for crew.
    Ah well – it was a nice try.

    Many thanks again, Gazza – maybe not quite so long before the next one?

  11. I found it rather tough.
    That might be down to a hard day’s work and a few drinks (!) but it might be because, although I’ve read lots of your comments on very many puzzles, I think this is actually only the second or third of yours I’ve attempted, and I need to get used to your style a bit more… I’ll very likely dip into the archive after this!
    Favourites were 1a, 13a, 16a, 20a, 23a, 28a, 5d, 22d.
    Many thanks Gazza and also to Prolixic.

  12. A superb puzzle, as expected, and I found it very tough as well, particularly the NW corner, where hints and cheats were very useful, thank you Prolixic! I’d never heard of 16a or 27a, so the check button was employed. 27a, 29a and 10a were unparsed. 5d defeated me until the hints appeared, but was brilliant, and goes as my favourite – my other top clues were 3d, 20a, 23a, and 28a.
    Many thanks Gazza, and again to Prolixic

    1. Yup, 5d would have been my pick as well, except that coincidentally I’d encountered he same word in the i earlier in the day clued by Raich with: Pupils of either sex.
      Great minds think alike!

  13. Many thanks to Prolixic for the superbly illustrated review and to all who commented. I am particularly pleased that such a wide range of the clues were identified as ‘likes’ by those commenting.

  14. Thanks to Prolixic for the wonderful review full of extras to enjoy. I had not sorted out the wordplay for 27a and also needed to look up the 11d gallery, but I did at least manage to do that.

    Congratulations to Gazza on another brilliant puzzle.

  15. Couldnt get 11d and couldnt parse 27a but overall a great puzzle savoured slowly over 2 days with a beer festival causing the intermission. 19d my fav.
    Thanks to Prolixic for review and good photo of ring ouzel-saw one earlier in month; and thanks to Gazza for setting it.

  16. Fantastic review to match the fantastic puzzle. Thanks Prolixic.

    Just realised that I never cottoned on to the second definition in 20a!

    1. When I first met this crossword I said

      “I don’t know what it says about me that my top favourite clue is 20a – but I did enjoy the moment when I realised what the second half of the clue was on about!”

      1. 20a reminded me of Gazza’s “Angel Delight” clue in MPP 024.

        Both bring tears to my eyes. Ouch!

      2. I think we are in the same boat then CS as now I understand that clue it made me laugh :grin:

        Just looked at the MPP 024…another cracking clue Stan!

  17. Thanks to Gazza and to Prolixic for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, which was all the right hand side except 25a. Couldn’t do hardly anything on left. Got a couple from the hints. Favourite was 4a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  18. Congratulations Gazza on a wonderful pangram. I’ve only just managed to get around to this, but when I noticed during my breakfast wifi allowance that the ntspp was by gazza, well, I just had to do it.

    My favourite is 20a, and in general I’m impressed by the inventiveness of the wordplay.
    Loads to like, touch-freely way, makes Japanese cry, charwoman, Italian roll, laboured breathing, lovesick bird, and surfaces like 23a.

    The cockney no spring chicken is trademark but still took me a while to parse, as did former dependency.

    2d reminded me of the conversation about gendarme – it’s in brb so no need for a foreign indicator. Speaking of indicators, I was pleased to see the lovely

    A real pleasure, many thanks. And thanks Prolixic for a fine review.

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